Service Celebrates Life Of Mike Swoboda

The Sept. 11 ceremony celebrating the life former Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda closed with the song “Amazing Grace,” played on the bagpipes. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
September 19, 2008
Hundreds of friends, family and fellow Kirkwood citizens gathered Thursday, Sept. 11, at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, to celebrate the life of former Kirkwood Mayor Michael E. Swoboda.

Mr. Swoboda died Saturday, Sept. 6, from complications from cancer, and injuries he suffered in the Feb. 7 shootings at Kirkwood City Hall.

In addition to friends and family, mayors from surrounding communities came to pay their respects. Also in attendance was St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Sen. Mike Gibbons.

The celebration began with a selection of Irish music and opening remarks by Kirkwood City Attorney John Hessel. Hessel spoke fondly of his time with Mr. Swoboda during their tenure together with the city.

Former Kirkwood City Council Member Tom Noonan talked about the past seven months, when Mr. Swoboda seemed to be making progress in his recovery from the injuries he sustained in February. The two would share outings to the park and local restaurants, Noonan said. He said what a blessing it was for Mr. Swoboda's family and friends to have had the past seven months with the former mayor.

Emmy McClelland, former state representative from Webster Groves, delivered a message from Mr. Swoboda's wife, Sue, which spoke of a loving husband and his pride in his children.

Mr. Swoboda's son Michael shared stories of the former mayor as a loving father who enjoyed traveling, but who would fall asleep barely after they hit the highway. He spoke of Mr. Swoboda's popularity with his son's friends, and his upbringing in a poor immigrant family.

Rev. David Holyan of First Presbyterian Church presided over the service, with Associate Pastor Rev. Karen Blanchard. A bagpiper closed the ceremony with the hymn "Amazing Grace."

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